tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 27, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
we ain't where we going to be. we ain't where we want to be. but thank god we ain't where we was. thank you for watching. i'm al sharpton. we'll see you here for the revvies on monday night. "hardball" starts right now. the aca is here to stay and republicans don't know what to do about it. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. starting off tonight, after a bruising political defeat in october, when republicans followed the cruz wing into a kamikaze mission to shut down the government, there appears little appetite to try something as brash again. at least for now.
on top of that the chaos of the law's initial rollout is at least dying down. healthcare.gov is faring better. many are signing up including some that could not get coverage under this old broken system. success stories are starting to reverse what first looked like an unstoppable flood of bad news. even a tea partier from wisconsin is warning his party. he told "the new york times" that the affordable care act is, quote, no longer just a piece of paper you can repeal and it goes away. there's something there. we have to recognize that reality. before today, it was far easier for the far right to use the battle cry of repeal to drown out the fact that they didn't have any vision to replace it. but now they're faced with actually having to come up with some real ideas. and that's a daunting task. especially far party in the midst of a civil war. why do you think they've avoided the issue all this time? as warren buffett is fond of saying, you never know who's swimming naked until the tide
goes out. so now they face an internal battle. how to position itself via argument and tactics on health care. rick tyler is a republican strategist. jonathan allen is politico's white house bureau chief. rick, if i were to come to you as a perspective republican candidate, now that the affordable care act has been put into effect and people are getting insurance who heretofore couldn't get insurance, would you advice be to be repeal or reform? >> well, what i've been saying to all my candidates is the affordable care act, it can't work. it's a lead airplane. though people claim there are good things in it, i don't think it can be reformed. i think it has to be repealed. but what's going to happen is the republicans got ahead of themselves. the company wants to repeal it first. and we're getting closer to that. the affordable care act, despite
this here is unpopular as ever. president obama is as unpopular as ever because of the affordable care act. and the democrats lost their majority in the house in 2010 because of the affordable care act. i'm advising my clients run on the affordable care act and hope your opponent does too. >> but i'm confused. am i as your candidate, am i arguing for repeal, get rid of the whole thing or am i saying there are elements here that we should be reforming? >> well, there's two parts. you can't get to the nice elements people like which is portability, which is so-called affordability but it's not affordable. people like to keep their doctor. not going to be able to do that. so anything this administration tells you about this plan, i think you have to look at with a great deal of suspicion. what i've been saying on this network and others for three years now is republicans have got to have an alternative plan to obama care so people know what they're moving forward. yes, they want to repeal obama
care, but they also want to know what they want to replace it with. and that's not -- >> jonathan allen, even if we concede that republicans are wanting to reform the affordable care act, what would reform look like? to the question i was asking of rick, there are a handful of proposals floating around that "the new york times" looks at in a great article by jonathan weissman. but here's the thing. if you add them all up, you get a health care law that looks strangely familiar. here are the examples. senator ron johnson, a tea party republican from wisconsin, wants to keep the insurance exchanges. congressman tom price's plan wants to keep the provision that prevents health insurers from denying patients that have pre-existing conditions. a version of paul ryan's plan has automatic enrollments. and extend tax credits to help people subsidize their insurance costs. together they basically form the
foundation of the affordable care act. hence my question to rick as a republican strategist of are they arguing for repeal or arguing for reform. what's your assessment, jonathan? >> look, there are two huge problems for the republicans here in forming a battle plan to create an alternative. one is that the democrats took the big republican ideas and put them into obama care as you just noted. and then the second one is there's no agreement among republicans as to what replace would look like. what would you stand up in the place of obama care. and if you, in fact, got to that point where you started to detail it, i think you'd see a huge fracture in the republican party. right now from a political standpoint, the gop is doing well to stay together in terms of being in opposition to obama care. if it gets to the point where they have to be for something, i think you'll see the tensions and fractures come into the open. >> rick tyler, i'm again your candidate. and by the way, so far i don't feel like i'm getting elected. which of those proposals that we put on the screen would you
advise me i should be supportive of? >> look, i'm not sure you have to pick any one particular proposal. you have to articulate an alternative that people like. and so obama care -- look. obama care is not working. it's like a lead airplane. all the people who are going to draw more out of the system than they'll put in. the whole way that obama care was to work in the first place is all these people didn't need health care. meaning they wouldn't draw out of the system as much as the others. they would put money in and it would be sustainable. that hasn't happened. and the president has removed all the requirements that would require them to be in the plan in the first place. so the whole thing is going to fail. there are lots of things you can do. you can put tax credits on the market. you can make sure that people can buy insurance from cross-state purchases. why should people in new jersey not buy a plan in iowa where they pay the least? there are things to do to bring down costs on health care. but it has to be --
>> i guess the point i want to make is -- and i personally having enrolled through the affordable care act by the way within the last ten days -- i have concerns as to where the costs all end up. because if the young invincibles don't get into the pool. if that pool doesn't have a good mix of people. people are thinking it's the raw count that matters. it's the mix of the pool that's created. i have concerns about where this thing heads on a cost basis. that's why i'd like to see as many get in as possible. the criticism is a valid one of the gop plans. when you get beyond the sound bite, what have you got, what they say and most often sounds like elements of the affordable care act. rick, you can respond to that. >> but here's the problem. look, the affordable care act tries to put people in four different plans. i think they're iron, aluminum, tin, and rust. you can't put 300 million people into four plans. that's saying people can only live in four kinds of houses, four kinds of cars, four kinds
of restaurants. only have four types of potato chips. look, that's never going to work. why not have -- >> i don't think that's fair. i don't think that's fair because my four categories actually entailed 24 different plans. i have a 25-year-old daughter who enrolled through new york. she had 77 different options. >> and if you live in new hampshire, you have one. >> jonathan, i want to ask you this. is there a credibility problem here on the part of the gop? lindsey graham told "the new york times" that this is the raging policy debate going on behind closed doors. is there a credibility issue here where they can't coalesce around a single plan and say this is the gop alternative? >> yes, and i'll tell you how they may be able to get around that credibility problem. the first part of that is there's a credibility issue because all the republicans voted against obama care. so if they try to say there's another health care plan they
want, they will be saying that they're for some things they were against previously. the way you get around that is you try to find some folks who have credibility on reform in general to come out and say, look. i've got a background on reforming government programs. let me come out here and give you suggestions for how to make this law better. but what we haven't heard from the republican party at all is how do we make it better. what we've heard is how do we repeal it, replace it. it's a lead airplane as rick said before. i think republicans have to figure out what they can coalesce around as a plan and then pick some leaders who can help bridge the gap and now saying there's a better way to do this. we don't like what the democrats have done in areas "x," "y," "z." but after you put this law into place you're going to repeal it and before it's gotten to the place where the public is ready to repeal it. that's just not going to happen. 80% of the american wants to repeal it at some point, it will happen quickly. i just don't see that happening overnight.
>> rick tyler, is this debate going to be heightened or focused upon those high profile races where a tea party type opposes one of the more pragmatic republicans in a primary process just like has happened in the last couple of cycles but this time focused on this repeal versus reform? >> i think obama care will dictate the 2014 elections more so than consultants advising candidates will. i think obama care is so bad and so catastrophic i think it actually effectively ended the president's presidency. he'll never get anything done in congress because he'll have no ability to move the congress. i think that people will demand the repeal of obama care. it remains to be seen, it could be 50 different state plans. we don't know. it remains to see what the alternative is. but i think obama care is the defining issue of the 2014 election. and i think it will be catastrophic for the democratic party. >> gentlemen, we appreciate you both being here.
thanks very much. coming up, call it the last taboo. why it may be harder in america to come out as an atheist politician than as a gay one. plus the debate over e-cigarettes. many say they're less harmful, but with e-cigarette companies selling their cigarettes on television, are we to see a new generation of nicotine users? and remember that guy? that's cubicle guy, the guy who photobombed an anthony weiner campaign event. he's on the list of people who earned their 15 minutes of fame in 2013. and what could these two men possibly have in common? yes, that's snoop dogg and john kerry at the white house, no less. and we'll have some answers in the sideshow. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ [ male announcer ] what kind of energy is so abundant, it can help provide the power for all this? natural gas. ♪ more than ever before, america's electricity is generated by it.
robertson is coming back to the show. filming of the popular reality program was put on hiatus after robertson made anti-gay remarks in an interview with "gq" magazine. conservatives then rallied around him. in a statement today, a&e network said quote, after discussions with the robertson family as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, a&e has decided to resume filming "duck dynasty" this spring with the entire family. a&e also plans to launch a public service announcement this spring about tolerance. we'll be right back. ♪
welcome back to "hardball." president barack obama made history back in 2008 when he was elected as the first african-american president. it's undeniable the democratic favorite and front runner is a woman now. former secretary of state hillary clinton who could very well make history as the first female nominee or first female
president. we also have a record number of hispanics and openly gay members of congress. but out of 535 members of congress, not a single one is a self-described atheist. a 2012 pew report revealed 7% of americans don't believe in a higher power. which leaves 15 million americans underrepresented in government. a gallup poll found 68% of americans would vote for a openly gay candidate, only 54% said they could vote for a well-qualified atheist. it appears to be a poison pill for politics. in 2007 pete stark a democrat from california was the first admitting to atheist. even he officially identified himself as quote, a unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being. and listen carefully to this clip from hbo's realtime with bill maher. it was last august with retired
congressman barney frank on this subject. >> okay. barney frank, do you feel more liberated being out of congress? you must. >> absolutely. i don't have to worry that when the phone rings it's somebody who's screwed something up and said it's my responsibility to unscrew it. >> although you were in a fairly safe district. you were not one of those congress people who have to worry about every little thing. you could sit next to a pot smoking atheist and it wouldn't bother you. >> which pot smoking atheist were you talking about? >> boy, you are liberated. >> ron reagan is an msnbc political analyst. jennifer michael hek is a professor at the new school. she just wrote a new article in politico magazine about the last taboo. you were on your sofa watching bill martha night. you saw that exchange and you said what to yourself?
>> well, i was glad, but i was disappointed he hadn't done it while he was still in office. i think it makes a big difference if you imagine a room full of 100 white men and one black or latino man or woman walking into the room. the conversation changes. it matters if you stand up for what you believe. >> and the point is barney frank had no problem coming out as a gay man and people were accepting of that. but the atheism he saved until he was already out the door. ron reagan, let me ask you this. if people tell a pollster and the toalty is that 7% are atheist, i say there's a hidden vote there. if they admit, it's probably in double digits. what's your hunch? >> yeah. i would guess that that's probably true. i think there are probably many a atheist members of congress. we're all atheists in a way. you don't believe in the
divinity of zues, do you? gods come and go. it's a measure what god you don't believe in? >> out of the 535, it's not they aren't there, it's that they don't feel comfortable admitting it. i wonder if it's because no one has challenged the hypothesis. maybe it's because no one who's otherwise credible stands up and says these are my beliefs. i do indeed have a moral compass and i'm running. and then we would see once and for all what would happen. ron, what do you think the outcome would be? >> yeah, i think that would be very helpful. i agree with jennifer. i read her excellent article. i know she feels members of congress who are atheist should come out. i agree with that. there are two things here when you talk about atheism in politics. one is the idea of the moral compass that you brought up. there are people who are religionists who believe without reference to some theology, you can't tell right from wrong.
how does an atheist know what's the good and evil thing to do, if you will. beyond that, though, there's an implicit threat to the religionist with atheist. if you live your life about a man's divinity and there's someone looking at you as if you're crazy to think that, that's a real rebuke to what is in a sense the core of your life and your beliefs. and that's very threatening to people. >> jennifer, in your piece in politico magazine, you said that there's a much richer tradition in american atheism among our past presidents than people realize. and here are a few of the presidents that you mentioned as having atheistic tendencietende. adams, jefferson, monroe, lincoln, taft. is america ready for an official atheist to be president? pick out your favorite on that list and tell me what justifies you to say they had atheistic
tendencies? >> we have a wonderful letter from jefferson to a favorite nephew in which he says question everything, even the existence of god. and if you come to not believe in him, you will do virtuous things for the good feelings it gives you and for the affection you get from other people. taft was called an atheist right at the turn of the 20th century. and he didn't deny it. he just kept going to unitarian church which was a pretty agnostic place. lincoln after he died, several of his closest companions including his wife said he had no faith or hope in any of the meanings that we think of today, that he never let it pass his lips he believed in anything about the christian theology. so really overall, i wrote a book called "doubt a history." which tells about a religion throughout history. and it shocked me how much this stuff comes and goes.
there are periods of time where it seems impossible for atheists to coexist with religionists. but there have been many times when it's not. and for us we're just getting out of the cold war. it was much easier to be an american atheist out loud and proud in the first part of the 20th century. but with communist atheism, there began to be a treasonist sense to the idea of atheism. everything got kind of shut down, and that's when in the '50s god went on the money and god went in the pledge. but ever since the soviet union fell and then 9/11 and now our most murderous tensions are with people who consider us secular and themselves much more rabidly religious, it's time for a change. clearly the politics and the mood of the country is changing because of these political differences. >> i agree with you. i'm anxious to see someone test the hypothesis.
for what it's with, i aired this with you on the radio and i was overwhelmed with callers who said i want to know that a politician can distinguish right from wrong. it's not important to me that they're pointing at a particular book in order to come to that judgment. anyway, thank you both ron reagan and jennifer hecht. >> thank you. up next, what brought together snoop dogg and john kerry. that's next in the sideshow. and don't forget, you can follow me on twitter so long as you can spell smerconish. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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kerry at the white house. the pair bonded over their love of jazz and were caught on camera talking about herby hancock. >> that's why it makes sense. >> you gave me a pound. >> for his part, kerry tweeted back at snoop, between us, we've sold 30 million. from dogs to horses and what politico is calling a strange political brawl over new york city's famous carriage horses. they're the ones that carry tourists through central park. well, animal rights activists have wanted them banned for years citing the welfare of the horses. and they have a powerful ally in incoming mayor bill de blasio. but the carriage drivers are fighting back and they're doing so with the help of the teamste teamsters. it's not clear whether de blasio will push for an all-out ban once he takes office next week. finally, as he year winds down, it's worth looking back at the year's events and wacky
characters of 2013. jib jab put together a highlight video. here's a clip from their year in review. ♪ so long 2013 ♪ it's time to send you on your way ♪ ♪ to chaos in egypt, drones in pakistan, the nsa ♪ ♪ a sequester and then a shutdown ♪ ♪ obama care was finally here ♪ crack smoking mayors ♪ 2013 what a year ♪ we decided it's okay for gays to wed ♪ ♪ there was way more than we can even say ♪ ♪ 2013 what a year up next, should e-cigarettes be allowed to be advertised on television when regular
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here's what's happening. connecticut authorities have released the full police report on the sandy hook shooting. the report spans thousands of pages and fails to identify any clear motive for the rampage. a car bombing in beirut has taken the life of a lebanese ambassador to the u.s. the u.s. has condemned the killing. and stocks take a breather a a. the dow and s&p are up more than 1% for the week. now back to "hardball." ♪ welcome back to "hardball." it's been more than 40 years since cigarettes have been advertised on television. ads that more often than not featured a celebrity promoting the pleasures of smoking.
here's the duke, john wayne. >> and that's just what camels are. mild and good tasting pack after pack. i know. i've been smoking them from 20 years. >> fast forward to 2013 and a whole new product, e-cigarettes, are being advertised on television oftentimes featuring celebrities. here's jenny mccarthy. >> i love being single. here's what i don't love. a kiss that tastes like an ashtray. i'm jenny mccarthy and i finally found a smarter alternative to cigarettes. i get to have a blu without the guilt because there's no tobacco smoke. which means i don't get the stink eye from others. >> advertising has been skyrocketing. this chart shows that for two of the most popular brands of e-cigarettes, spending in just the first nine months of this year dwarves ad spending for the
entirety of 2012. and ad spending for e-cigarettes is expected to grow even more in 2014 if the fda doesn't propose curbs to the devices and their advertising. stanton glantz is the director of the center for tobacco control research and education. norman siegel headed up the aclu for 15 years. doctor, if smokers view the ads and turn from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, wouldn't that be a good thing? >> well, that would be a good thing if that's what was actually happening. but that's not what's been happening. what's been happening is people are using e-cigarettes in addition to regular cigarettes basically the way jenny mccarthy suggested which is to use them in places you can't smoke cigarettes. so the net effect they're having at a population level is to actually keep people smoking which is increasing the amount
of disease caused by smoking. >> anecdotally, i have two people who are in my family or social circle, both of whom have at least toned down the amount of tobacco smoking that they do and have become vapors instead. and i think an increasing number of us know people who are in that position. that's progress, isn't it, doctor? >> well, the keyword of what you said is anecdotally. there is no doubt that some people have successfully quit smoking with e-cigarettes and that some people using e-cigarettes are smoking fewer cigarettes. but when you look at the population level data, people who use e-cigarettes are actually less likely to quit smoking than people who don't. and if you just cut down a little bit, the point you made is the problem. if all you do is cut down your cigarettes a bit without stopping completely, you still suffer essentially the entire heart disease risk and almost all of the cancer risk.
>> norman siegel, go ahead. i know you're chomping at the bit to get in here. >> right. i respect dr. glantz, but i don't agree with him. the studies come after. with regard to the advertising issue, there is serious and substantial first amendment issues. and the smoking situation and the problem with e-cigarettes whoever called it e-cigarettes has the name associated with cigarettes, but it's very different. there's no dispute. we don't know what the benefits and risks of e-cigarettes are, but there's no dispute out there as far as i can tell that it's less dangerous than a traditional cigarette. and the reason why the fda was able to ban the smoking commercials is because it was clear that the scientific evidence said the user was harmful and the second hand smoke was harmful to others. you do not have that. the united states district court and the united states court of appeals in d.c., the second most prestigious court in the united
states, in 2011 on an e-cigarette case said that the fda produced no evidence that e-cigarettes were harmful to anyone. and moreover the fda under the tobacco act could, in fact, by regulation mitigate and even extinguish any public health concerns. the problem, for example, new york on the legislation, what they did is wherever in the smoke free air act the word cigarette appeared, they inserted and e-cigarettes. the bottom line is where the floor is you cannot equate e-cigarettes with cigarettes. it's something different. and finally the constitution says in the 14th amendment that the government cannot deprive citizens of lint. liberty. >> dr. glantz, he's offered you a lot there. respond to that which you choose. >> the first thing is that the scientific evidence on e-cigarettes is accumulating very quickly. none of the research i was alluding to was available two
years ago. but now there are four different studies looking at a population level, scientific study showing that people who use e-cigarettes are actually a little bit less likely to, quote, quit cigarettes than non-e-cigarette users. we published the paper two months ago that looked at 76,000 adolescents and found that kids who use e-cigarettes are way less likely to quit smoking than kids not using e-cigarettes. while i agree a puff of an e-cigarette is less dangerous than a puff of a cigarette. the fact is they're still exposing people to heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and nicotine. and they're putting all of that stuff into the air too. not as much as a cigarette, but still enough to be -- >> mr. siegel, hang on. let me frame it for you this way, mr. siegel. it seems the doctor is saying if it were an either/or that he
would much rather society is vaping than smoking. but it's in addition to. take that on if you will. >> well, the abstinence rigdty doesn't work here. there are people in the health world saying we cannot eradicate certain risks such as smoking. but what we can do is reducing the risk as a result of that. the question becomes for government educate me, inform me, persuade me, but respect the right of citizens to decide what's in their best interest. put out the information. let us then make our own decisions. make sure the fda is involved on the tobacco act in making sure the advertising is correct, but basically until the scientific evidence comes and says "a," it's harmful to the user or "b," it's harmful for the person standing next to the user when the vapor is there, i think the government should stay out of banning the stuff.
>> gentlemen, thank you both very much. dr. glantz, thank you. mr. siegel, thank you. i'll have more to say on this subject at the oend oend of e program. up next, those with 15 minutes of fame in 2013. this is "hardball," the place for politics. hey there, i just got my bill, and i see that it includes my fico® credit score. yup, you get it free each month to help you avoid surprises with your credit. good. i hate surprises. surprise! at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. get the it card and see your fico® credit score.
mammoth lead over vice president joe biden. that's according to a new fox news poll. but it's a tighter field among the republicans. chris christie remains in the lead with 16% support. and that's a three-way tie for second among ted cruz, paul ryan, and jeb bush. rand paul is right behind them, marco rubio further back. so the favorites are clinton and christie. and a new cnn poll shows that the matchup would be very close. they've got christie up two. 48% to 46%. it's also worth noting that clinton leads eight other republicans in hypothetical matchups. "hardball" back after this. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you: where does the united states get most of its energy? is it africa? the middle east? canada? or the u.s.? the answer is... the u.s. ♪
accidentally famous. they're the people sometimes literally behind the politicians. they're the men and women who gain a bit of fame for a news cycle or two, the late night comedians rely on them to fill the monologues. they include obama girl, joe the plumber, don't tase me bro guy, and herman cain's smoking chief of staff. it turns out 2013 was a bumper crop year. that's what it was for them. politico recently compiled a list of the top ten fleeting political celebrities of this past year. number one was pajama boy. the poster child for the president's new health care law. joining me to comb through some of the others are michelle goldberg, a senior contributing writer at the nation and comedian dean obedallah at the daily beast. all right, guys. another politico pick was the woman, the early face of the affordable care act website. you remember her smiling face that provided much fodder for late night comedians as the
website's troubles grew worse. the onion newspaper spoofed her with this image and the headline people in healthcare.gov stock photos now visibly panicking. eventually the white house took down her photo. here was the daily show's jon stewart lampooning that decision. >> the latest change is strictly cosmetic. that smiling woman on the home page is gone. >> gone! get out! got rid of that smiling lady. although i'm not sure the new home page is an improvement. >> in reality the woman's name was adriana. she went public in november telling abc she'd become the victim of cyber bullying. >> as a kid i never went through that. but now i am. it's bullying. >> it is bullying. >> but at the same time, you
know, i thought i had to do this for my child. i'm here to stand up for myself and defend myself. >> dean, what was the back story here? she posed in exchange for free photographs or something? >> for nothing. they paid her nothing. and look what she got in exchange. they said we're going to use your photo on some of the rollout. i bet you under their hushed breath, they were like you're going to be the home page. but they didn't want to say that to her. nobody would want to be on the home page. then she was demonized. bloggers on the right called her the most despised person in america which is a high bar because conservatived hate a lot of women. but the flip side is she got really well known. i wish for that reason they would have used me. i would have been happy to be the face of obama care website. maybe i could have guest hosted "hardball" one night, michael. you never know. >> michelle, i'm sure there's a serious takeaway. but i don't know what it is. help me out here.
>> it's similar to with pajama boy. which is the internet has vastly lowered the bar on what we consider a public person. we're now in the age of taking these fairly random and obscure people who have only the most tenuous connection to actually politics and then kind of holding them up for these orgies of internet flajlation. we're not just talking about kind of being fodder for late night comedians. we're talking about people doing these pseudo investigations into their pasts. in the case of pajama boy, publishing what some blogger thought was his parents' address. and again, pajama boy, like the woman on the obama care website, these are not, you know -- these are not people who have any connection to the policies. these are people who posed for photographs. >> i did ask for it. but don't ruin all our fun yet. because another pick from
politico was cubicle guy. and here's an example of an already crazy press conference getting an added layer of absurdity as anthony weiner stepped before the press this summer admitting that his online activities didn't end when he resigned from congress. and this guy seemed to get as much instant attention on twitter and then from late night comics as weiner did. the man, it turns out, was a radio reporter. he'll forever be known as cubicle guy in some circles. the daily beast quickly remixed the press conference featuring him. here's how it looked. >> some of the things posted today -- ♪ >> and here was conan o'brien's take on the matter.
>> it was hilarious. i couldn't -- i was like who is that guy? did you see it, andy? >> yeah. it was so unprofessional. it's a news conference, for god's sake. you got god's sake. you've got 30 cameras and anthony weiner on the other side. just lay low. how hard is that? >> any way, i guess the guy got his 15 minutes of fame because everybody was talking about it today. >> yeah, sure, but at what cost? you may be a grown man, but you look like a high school duh fus. >> i have to tell you, given the subject matter when he popped up behind weiner, all i could wonder is, is he wearing pants? this guy was the cherry on the weiner sunday. anthony weiner in this press event actually saying i apologize to any woman who may have gotten a text message from me because he was spaming women at this point.
then you have a man who works for wr radio, he's in the media. he has to be aware. you look over and your eyes can see the other media outlets, they can see you. that made it even more bizarre, that he was not that aware, he's probably going to be on camera. >> michelle goldberg, your thoughts? >> you know, i think this is the kind of lighter version of the more sinister instant notoriety we have seen in other cases and you know, in part because this isn't really a polarized issue, right? the one thing that all americans can agree on is the absurdity of anthony weiner's press conference. >> no doubt. hey, i have to tell you both and everybody else, i'm really surprised politico didn't include him, but i have to give my pick for the celebrity royalty or whatever they're calling it for the year, to the sign language interpreter at the
nelson mandela memorial. standing just a few feet behind moral dignitaries and he blames it on a schizophrenic episode. twitter, the web instantly made him a star and "saturday night live" had a field day with that story. >> i have been listening. to what -- to what americans are saying. and some very valid concerns are being raised. but this is not a battle that will be won overnight. while i can't say that i've been entirely thrilled with the results -- i'm just relieved that the website has been turned on again. >> you know, in retrospect, you
go back and look at the footage, how did the guy keep it up that whole time? how did he not burst out laughing with the knowledge that the whole thing was a sham? >> he should get best acting. he was committed from beginning to end. at first when i was watching him, apparently, i know sign language, but that's not the case. he was literally making things up. we needed a sign language guy, anyone know sign language? >> this was unbelievable. >> there's more to come on this show than the sign language guy next to president obama and world leaders. >> i know. could have been a lot different outcome. thank god we're laughing about it. thank you. when we return, allow me to finish with my take on the e cigarette debate. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics. ♪
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earlier, we had a good debate about the electronic cigarette industry and now, i'd like to weigh in. the ecig industry has big television advertising plans for 2014 if they're not snuffed out first. that's because the fda will soon announce its regulations for its devices. one question soon to be answered is whether they will be permitted to continue to
advertise on television, something regular cigarettes haven't been able to do since 1971. rather than wait for the outcome, the manufacturers are moving quickly to advertise their products, so instill their brands and try to win long-term customers. the debate is but one facet over the -- while the journal notes there's growing scientific consensus that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, critics say the ads reglamourize cigarettes and could trigger a new generation of smokers. well, i'm hoping the fda will address the need for good manufacturing practices and quality control standards in the e liquid, but i hope the regulations don't go too far. joe wrote in my view on this suggest "the new york times" earlier this month under the headline two cheers for e cigarettes. imagine a product, a legal but
lethal one, that kills 400,000 americans a year. public health advocates have been trying for decades to persuade americans not to use it, but it's still operating profitably. one out of every five americans is addicted to the product. now, imagine an alternative comes to the market. an innovative device that can help people wean themselves from the deadly product. it has the same look and feel from the deadly product. it, too, is addictive, but the ingredients that kill people are absent. he went on to note that the public health community is not cheering the e cig. they want them stigmatized, just like cigarettes. they represent an opportunity to wean many away from conventional cigarett cigarettes. so let's agree that best of all no one smoke a cigarette or vap
from an e cig, but the moral crusade seems to be overlooking the science and that's a real case of smoke and mirrors. that's "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. "lock up" starts right now. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. what's the youngest person you've been sexually involved with? >> 14. >> a sex offender gives way to his urges. >> he was found with 18 pictures of children from magazines and newspapers. >> just like that. >> oh, okay. >> a nightmarish assault on staff changes the prison overnight. >> it's probably the most horrifying scream i've ever heard in my life. >> i knew his intention to rape me and kill me. >> and another inmate is restricted not only by prison